Is Coffee Good or Bad for You?

A cup of coffee or two or three, is it good for you or bad? It seems like each week a new study is coming out touting the benefits or blasting the caffeine-laden morning (or anytime) drink, so what’s the deal?

Featured image: Shutterstock
Featured image: Shutterstock

We’ve compiled a list of several different studies that showcase the good health effects of a cup of joe and those that claim it can have negative impacts, so that you might judge for yourself. Do note, this is not an exhaustive list of pros and cons.

A cup a day keeps the …

Eye doctor away: A study from Cornell University recently found that all caffeine aside, coffee also has chlorogenic acid, which is an antioxidant that prevented degeneration of the retina in mice.

“Coffee is the most popular drink in the world, and we are understanding what benefit we can get from that,” Chang Lee, a professor of food science at the university and the study’s senior author, said in a statement.

Psychiatrist away: A study from Harvard University last year found that those who drank two to four cups of coffee per day had half the of the suicide risk compared to those who drank decaf or no coffee at all. It can also lower incidents of depression.

Cardiologist away: A moderate (keyword moderate) amount of coffee can actually reduce someone’s risk for heart disease. Too much negates this benefit.

In addition to preventing all these possible trips to the doctor, coffee has also be linked to benefits in Parkinson’s disease patients (another study found it also could significantly lower incidents of Parkinson’s all together), reducing Type 2 diabetes risk and reducing the risk of prostate cancer.

It could also help you act more ethically at work and has cognitive benefits as well.

Overall, another Harvard study that tracked men and women for 18 to 25 years until they were in their 40s and 50s found coffee consumption didn’t result in an increased risk of death — even for those who drank up to six cups per day — suggesting that it isn’t associated with any seriously bad health effects in the general population.

The downside to drinking java

One of the most obvious downsides is what coffee does to your pearly whites, playing a significant role in staining your teeth or dentures, but there are some more nefarious effects it could have as well.

If you’re drinking French press or Turkish, you might want to have your cholesterol checked. Why? It contains cafestol, which stimulates LDL cholesterol levels. Using a paper filter though captures this cafestol, making it safer to drink for those with cholesterol problems.

Pregnant women also might want to consider cutting back or cutting it out as the caffeine has been linked to miscarriages and low birth weights.

As one might expect, coffee consumption can result in insomnia, but it can also result in heart palpitations, tremors and headaches.

Then there’s that good ol’ thing that comes with any drug — yes, it is considered a drug by the federal government — when you try to cut back to a safe limit: withdrawal.

There you have it, a brief look at some of the goods and bads of one of the most popular caffeinated drinks in the world.

Front page image via Shutterstock.